If you're self-employed, freelancer or telecommuter, you've probably struggled to find your ideal work environment. In this article, we'll review the pros and cons of various workspaces, including working from home. Keep reading to find out which one gets our vote.
Working from home¬†has its advantages. For one, having a home office allows you to claim a portion of your rent on your income tax return. Working from home also means you get to work in your pajamas if that's something you like to do. Other advantages include having access to your kitchen throughout the day. This will help you save money, especially when you consider how tempting it is to go out for lunch when you work anywhere else.
Working from home requires a good amount of discipline. With no one around to judge or supervise you, who's going to stop you from going on YouTube? Who's going to limit your Facebook time to a reasonable amount? At home, the risk of procrastination is high. Outside of online distractions, I sometimes start cleaning my house between work tasks. It's hard to say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's definitely easier to stay on top of housework when you can switch your laundry from the washer to the dryer in between emails. But when doing the dishes leads to cleaning the bathroom and de-cluttering your closet, your productivity can really start to suffer!
When first I set out to start my own business, I thought I'd be working in cafes all the time. In a sense, the discomfort I feel in cafes incites me to get more work done in less time. I'm also less likely to waste time on social media for privacy reasons. But now that more and more people are telecommuting and working for themselves, cafes are extremely crowded and the Wi-Fi isn't always reliable. It can also be hard to concentrate on any writing-related tasks when there are audible conversations taking place all around you, or when the music is loud or just not to your liking. That being said, cafes can be a great place to get inspired and adequately caffeinated. In this sense, going to work in a cafe for a short stint can be a great way to overcome procrastination and get out of the house for a bit if you work from home most of the time.
If you find yourself procrastinating while trying to work at home, and if you have trouble concentrating in cafes, co-working spaces might be for you. These spaces generally look like cafes, only instead of buying coffee, you rent a desk or a spot at a table. (Usually, coffee is available too.) Co-working spaces aren't necessarily quiet, so if your work requires a lot of concentration, you may need to bring a pair of headphones to drown out the noise. If you invest in a good pair, you should consider writing them off as a business expense on your income tax return. Personally, listening to instrumental music or to the same song on repeat helps me concentrate. These spaces generally sell memberships that allow you to access the premises as much or as little as you want, up to seven days a week. If this isn't in your budget, you can always just drop in occasionally and pay their daily rate.
The beauty of freelancing is that we freelancers don't actually have to choose where we work. Personally, having a fully operational home office is non-negotiable. But I definitely make use of cafes and co-working spaces when I need a change of scenery, and I love that I have that option. If you're a solopreneur, freelancer or telecommuter, you've probably struggled to find your ideal work environment. Before striking it out on my own, I remember romanticizing the idea of sipping on a latte while typing away on my laptop, taking breaks to meet with friends. But in some cases, working in cafes isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be.